Definitive Guide: Best Time to Clean Your Gutters – When? How often?

By Tom •  Updated: 01/30/21 •  6 min read

I have a confession to make. 

I went years… YEARS without so much as looking at my gutters let alone having them cleaned. I didn’t know any better. 

I was able to squeak by without too much damage and I didn’t have any issues with clogged gutters or much leaf buildup but I was lucky in my house because I didn’t have any trees that were tall enough or close enough to cause much buildup in my gutters.

That said – I dodged a bullet. 

Fast and easy way to clean black stripes off of the front of your gutters

When should you clean your gutters? What Time of Year Is Best?

In general and on average you should clean your gutters twice a year — in the fall and the spring — but you should also clean your gutters if you notice they are overflowing and not draining properly. That said your particular house might get by with 0 cleanings one year or might need up to 4.

If you truly can only handle getting your gutters cleaned once a year, try to get them cleaned at the end of fall. 

In what month should you clean gutters in spring? 

In the spring you should clean your gutters out towards the end of the season in late May or early June. 

If you got a lot of snow and ice though, you should check things out once it warms up to see if any debris or crud got in your gutters over the winter. Wait until there’s a thaw to check things out. That might necessitate an early spring cleaning. 

And yet another thing to worry about: coming out of the winter your biggest worry is probably damage to your gutters due to any heavy snow or ice you got (if any). 

In what month should you clean gutters in the fall?

To really thread the needle perfectly for cleaning your gutters in the fall: clean your gutters when your trees are as bare as possible but BEFORE it starts to regularly dip below freezing.

The fall brings leaves. 

Leaves clog gutters. 

Again, following the common theme of this article, you’ll almost definitely want to clean out your gutters towards the end of fall but if you get a lot of rain and a have a lot of trees you might need a mid-fall clean-out too. Need to tailor your cleaning schedule to your particular situation.

Another important factor in getting your gutters cleaned in the end of fall is that if you’re in a colder climate and the gutters are blocked up with water that freezes — better known as ice — in the winter due to debris it can weigh down your gutters and cause damage. 

One more note on the fall: if you’ve had a particularly active summer in the storm arena an end of summer/early fall cleaning might be necessary as well.

How do you know when to clean gutters?

If you’re already following a schedule for cleaning your gutters, but you still notice that you are getting significant overflow and blockage of downspouts, that’s a sign that you need to clean your gutters again.

Be on the look out for these tell-tale signs of a needed gutter cleaning:

Can you lean a ladder against a ladder?

How often should gutters be cleaned?

That depends on a number of factors, but on average you should clean out your gutters twice a year. If you live in a particularly rainy area or have a lot of trees – particularly pine trees — you should probably get them cleaned three or four times a year. 

As a diligent homeowner, you are safe with a semiannual gutter cleaning schedule. Depending on your situation it might be under- or over-kill but regardless it will be SOMETHING and it will be pretty good regardless of your situation.

As with all things home maintenance there will be variance from house to house regarding when and how often to clean your gutters..

Cleaning twice a year will get you about 70% to 80% flow rate down your gutters. So if you notice your gutters are still overflowing, you might need to increase the number of times you are cleaning your gutters even more than twice a year.

If that is the case — if you have a lot of trees and a lot of rain and you notice overflowing — up your cleaning to 3 or even 4 times a year. Start with end of spring and end of fall and if that isn’t enough add another cleaning in the middle of fall and then in the middle of spring.

Your gutters could get clogged at any time of year and could require cleaning at any time. It depends on a number of factors that are unique to your house including: 

To boil it down: the MORE of anything above, the MORE OFTEN you should be cleaning your gutters. 

Don’t forget: properly working gutters aren’t just there for show – they are absolutely essential for keeping rain water where it should be – away from your walls, basement and foundations and not causing any water damage to your house. 

You need to ward off mold, crud, leaves, tree droppings, sticks, dirt and other detritus building up in your gutters that will have spill-over — no pun intended — effects on the rest of your house.

And the more blocked up they are, the more enticing they will be for critters and mosquitos. 

If those aren’t enough reasons – if you live in a drier climate leaves stuck in your gutter may present a FIRE hazard. 

Ain’t owning a home grand!?


A few years ago I bought my first house. It’s 100 years old. It’s clearly had a history of less-than-professional DIY handymen/women. And APPARENTLY you’re supposed to actually put work and money into it if you don’t want it to look terrible or water to rain down on you while you’re sleeping. About YouTube Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram